Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called EU for further discussions about extending sanctions against Russia. On Thursday 28 European ambassadors met for the second time- since on Wednesday they didn’t reach unanimity, necessary to take any decision- and Italy pointed out again its objections against sanctions.
The Italian Prime Minister took everybody by surprise instructing his ambassadors to raise objections and “take this to a high political level”. Renzi’s reasons for doing this are not known, whereas EU diplomats suggested that he raised his voice against this decision to “raise his political profile”.
The Italian journalist Marcello Foa pointed out that Matteo Renzi may have taken this unexpected decision because “he is under pressure from Italian industry, especially the agricultural sector, which is suffering very much from sanctions”. The journalist also suggested that this could represent a “positive development” for relations between Russia and US, which have cooled in the last period.
Europe imposed economic sanctions to Russia in July 2014, over its alleged participation in Ukraine’s crisis. The abolition of sanctions depends on the fulfilment of the Minsk peace agreement, which has not been reached yet. Sanctions will end in January 2016 and Europe has to make a decision on their extension now.
Isabella Milan Albertin